Opal-RT Launches eMEGAsim for Electromagnetic Transients Simulation

Pushing the boundaries of multi-core computing, Opal-RT, a leading provider of distributed real-time simulation and hardware-in-the-loop testing systems, announces eMEGAsim, a distributed, parallel computing solution for real-time simulation of electromagnetic transients in power systems. Based on Intel processors, eMEGAsim combines RT-LAB, and FPGA technology to obtain simulation time steps below 250 nanoseconds, a requirement for simulating the very fast electromagnetic transients encountered in power systems. eMEGAsim is designed for real-time simulation, integration and hardware-in-the-loop testing of protection devices and power electronic controllers to ensure the security of large power systems. It is also used for system design, training and research.

eMEGAsim is an integrated software and hardware system designed for computation-intensive applications. At its core is RT-LAB software and off-the-shelf components including Supermicro motherboards equipped with dual Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad processors and Xilinx Virtex(TM) FPGA. eMEGAsim executes on Intel compatible hardware including Opal-RT systems and soon, on the new SGI(R) Altix(R) XE. eMEGAsim is scalable from 8 to 64 processor cores and can simulate increasingly large systems while maintaining real-time performance. It is adapted for real-time simulation of complete power systems installed in aircrafts, spacecrafts, shipboards and trains as well as in-land large power grid systems and wind farms.

eMEGAsim distributed, parallel computing solution for real-time simulation of electromagnetic transients in power systems

Directly utilizing the efficient cache subsystem of the Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad processor chips, eMEGAsim obtains computation efficiencies of greater than 100%. As demonstrated in the attached graph, as the number of cores used is doubled, the time step decreases by more than a factor of two. The resulting efficiency enables faster and more accurate simulation of electromagnetic transient phenomena and therefore greater understanding of the power system under study.

Based on Intel(R)’s multi-core technology, eMEGAsim benefits from very tightly coupled CPUs to overcome the time latencies experienced in cluster systems and delivers significantly faster performance. Whereas high-performance cluster systems report communication overhead or jitter as long as 10 to 50 microseconds or more, eMEGAsim is able to deliver considerable performance advantages with maximum communication overhead and jitter as low as one microsecond. Such performance permits simulations with time steps below 3 micros to achieve very high accuracy when simulating fast transients.

Furthermore, eMEGAsim enables calculations of very fast transients directly on the FPGA chip, with time steps of less than 250 nanoseconds. This functionality drastically increases the accuracy the simulation of complex power electronics devices found in most power systems.

In addition, FPGA-based Inputs and Outputs (I/O) enable high-speed, direct connection with external equipment for hard real-time, hardware-in-the-loop testing. Executed under the QNX(R) Neutrino(R) real-time operating system, closed-loop testing enables full validation of complex systems and greatly facilitates controller design.

The FPGA processor is user programmable with Simulink, and Xilinx System Generator graphical modeling tools. Engineers are able to generate executable code directly from high-level block diagrams and do not need expertise in VHDL programming skills. Electrical system models are automatically generated from electrical schematics using SimPowerSystem.

“Previously, such flexibility and levels of performance could only be obtained with expensive, custom-built supercomputers,” explains Jean Belanger, President Opal-RT Technologies Inc. “Today, eMEGAsim integrates the latest technologies to bring unmatched capability to engineers focused on designing, simulating and analyzing energy distribution systems. With no limits on simulator performance, engineers, scientists and students will only be limited by their creative imagination.”

About Opal-RT Technologies Inc.
Founded in 1997, Opal-RT is the leading supplier of integrated software and hardware solutions for real-time simulation and hardware-in-the-loop testing of electrical and mechanical systems. Opal-RT’s unique approach integrates parallel, distributed computing with commercial-off-the-shelf technologies. Opal-RT customers perform rapid-prototyping, system integration and hardware-in-the-loop testing of electric drives, power electronics and power distribution networks. Opal-RT solutions can be found in leading International companies in the automotive, aerospace, energy and power generation industries including AISIN, BMW, Daimler Chrysler, DENSO, Ford, GM, Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Toyota.